Dr. Shirin Zubair 

SWGIThe influences of globalization and global imagery are redefining Pakistani women’s social roles and identities. This talk explored the ways in which media representations of Pakistani women are understood to represent broader international development discourses. By focusing on development narratives regarding women’s empowerment and, their social and political positioning, and by looking at the visual and linguistic representations, images and portrayals of women, Dr. Zubair captured the competing discourses of femininities offered on the cable television channels in Pakistan. For instance, while a drama like Uraan (Flight), shown on the most popular channel, Geo, may depict an independent career woman exercising her autonomy and freedom in decision-making, thus illustrating a clear departure from patriarchal structures, it simultaneously, offers ambivalent or competing discourses on femininities. How these images are received and interpreted is captured through focus group data of women discussing media representations. This data provides useful insights into the ongoing constructions of their selfhood and identity in relation to these media representations.    

Currently, a professor of English at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Shirin Zubair has taught English and Linguistics for over thirty years. After earning her PhD from Cardiff University, UK, she has been regularly publishing her research on Pakistani women’s access to multiple literacies, higher education and identity-related issues in leading international journals including Feminist Formations, Women Studies International Forum, South Asian Popular Culture, Discourse Studies.